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Weight Loss Reduces Markers of Breast Cancer Risk

Posted Jun 10 2010 6:28am
Obesity is known to be a major risk factor for breast cancer, something we've discussed in previous blogs .  Much of the increased breast cancer risk associated with obesity is thought to be due to hormones produced by fat tissues.  These hormones include estrogen as well as multiple inflammation-related hormones and growth factors reportedly involved in breast cancer development and growth.  Despite our growing knowledge regarding the various compounds produced by fat tissues that might stimulate breast cancer formation; less is known about how losing weight effects these hormones.

Research presented this week at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology explored changes in breast cancer risk markers after successful weight loss .  For this new study, breast cancer researchers placed high-risk, overweight, postmenopausal women on a weight loss program that included calorie restriction, increased physical activity, and weekly meetings.  Body weight, body composition, and markers of breast cancer risk were measured at the beginning and end of the study.  Results of this breast cancer research included:
  • Women who successfully completed the study had an average weight loss about 22 lbs and an average loss in body fat of nearly 4%.
  • Abnormal breast cells were observed in approximately 42% of study volunteers at the beginning of the study, but only about 17% of study volunteers at the end of the study.
  • Successful weight loss was associated with improvements in multiple breast cancer risk markers including adiponectin, leptin, C-reactive protein, estradiol, and sex hormone binding globulin.
This new breast cancer research study adds to the growing scientific evidence linking obesity and breast cancer risk.   While previous research has shown that overweight and obese individuals have higher levels of breast cancer risk markers , this new study reports that at least some of these markers can be reduced by losing weight without surgery.  As with previous research in this area, this new study confirms the importance of maintaining a healthy body weight for reducing breast cancer risk. 

There are many breast cancer risk factors that can be easily modified to help reduce breast cancer risk.  Find out more by reading my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer .
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